Somalia: Despite Clashes, MSF Continues Activities in Galgadud Region

MSF continues activities in Dhusa Mareb, despite growing insecurity due to clashes on Saturday, January 2.

Somalia 2006 © Otavio Omati/MSF

MSF medical staff examine a child at a hospital in Guri El, Galgadud region.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues activities in Dhusa Mareb, despite growing insecurity due to clashes on Saturday, January 2.

In response to severe drought conditions, MSF started supplying water on December 23 in order to cover the needs of people in villages surrounding Dhusa Mareb and Guri El in the Galgadud region of Central Somalia.

The weekend clashes between different armed groups have made life even more difficult for people in the area. In addition to livestock and livelihood problems as a result of the drought, many residents were already hosting displaced relatives from other insecure areas. Now, entire families have fled Dhusa Mareb.

“We have been able to continue our water supplying activities, and we hope to reach those who do not have access to water in Hinder and Dhusa Mareb,” said Kumar Chandiramani, MSF head of mission in Somalia.

In Galgadud region, MSF is running Istarlin hospital, in addition to an outpatient department in Dhusa Mareb, and a health post in Hinder.

At the 80-bed Istarlin hospital, MSF provides a range of free medical services, including outpatient consultation and surgical interventions. In 2009, MSF Somali medical teams performed 732 surgeries and 709 deliveries; 40,190 consultations took place in the outpatient department.

The hospital, where MSF is currently treating wounded from the fighting, is open to all people who need medical care, regardless of their clan, religious, or political affiliations.

MSF has worked in Somalia since 1991 and currently runs medical projects in eight regions of the country, including Banadir, Bay, Galgadud, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, and Mudug.

As a humanitarian medical organization, MSF calls on all parties involved to observe the neutrality of health structures, ambulances transporting wounded, and vehicles carrying water, and to allow patients from all areas to receive necessary medical care.

Over 1,500 Somali staff, supported by approximately 90 staff in Nairobi, work in MSF projects in Somalia, providing primary health care, malnutrition treatment, health care and support to displaced people, surgery, and water and relief supply distributions. The assistance that MSF provides is based on the medical needs of the populations. In the first six months of 2009 MSF teams provided 376,114 outpatient consultations and 22,000 ante-natal care consultations; 3,373 surgeries were performed, 1,975 of which were for injuries caused by violence.